The Freebox Mini 4K has been available for a few days for all subscribers. She arrived at my house this week and it has been a few hours now that she stands proudly on the cabinet of my television. Ah that, she shows off, the naughty. The time has therefore come to take stock of the operation. With photos and a video as a bonus, of course.
This article will not stop on the functions of the decoder. I will stick only to its technical sheet, its specificities and its installation. You shouldn't expect the publication of a test either.
At least not immediately. I may make an update in a few months. In the meantime, you will still be entitled to some articles on Android TV. With some tutorials.
Ah, and if you want to know the reasons which pushed me to take the Mini 4K, the best thing is to still browse in this article .
The Free site is not very talkative and ultimately prefers to focus on the peculiarities and strengths of the decoder rather than on its technical sheet.
Fortunately, by nosing around a bit and reading the tiny lines at the bottom of the page, you can learn two or three things about the new Freebox.
And here are its detailed characteristics:
- Dual-core A15 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz.
- 2 GB of RAM.
- Encoding in Full HD 1080p or 4K (HEVC and H265).
- Google Cast compatible.
- 802.11n WiFi (2 × 2), Bluetooth 4.0 LE.
- HDMI output, USB 2.0 ports, SD port, SPDIF output, TNT socket, Ethernet port.
- Dimensions: 11 x 15 x 3.2 cm.
On paper, therefore, we have a pretty promising little machine that should be able to run most of the games and apps from the Play Store. Yes, because its asset, ultimately, is that it is powered by Android TV and therefore gives direct access to the entire Google ecosystem.
At least in theory. Afterwards, practice is something else but we will no doubt have the opportunity to talk about it again very soon.
Packaging, Design & Ergonomics
The Freebox Mini 4K was delivered to me in a very compact box. With two boxes inside: the decoder on one side, and the router on the other. Free did not seek to reinvent the wheel.
The two boxes are compact, and rectangular. They are not original. Far from it, even, but that's not much of a problem. They're both much prettier than my old, faded V5 anyway.
The Freebox Server Mini looks a lot like the Revolution modem, minus the texture. It is also more compact than the latter. Otherwise, the two products are quite similar. The box has a digital display on the front, with buttons for navigating within the on-board firmware.
For the connection and apart from the ADSL and fiber plug, we will find four Gigabit Ethernet ports, an audio output, an audio input, two USB 2.0 ports, an e-Sata port and the food. Without forgetting that of the telephone, of course. The box is Femtocell compatible.
The Freebox Mini 4K is even smaller than the router. It does not have a screen, however, and there is simply a button on the front to pair the remote control.
It is doing quite well on the connectivity with an HDMI output, three USB 2.0 ports, an SPDIF output, an Ethernet port and power.
No USB 3.0 ports on the boxes, therefore. Pity.
On the other hand, Free has put the package on the accessories. Apart from the essential cabling, we will also find two network cables and an HDMI cable to more easily connect the two boxes to our equipment. The Free Plugs, on the other hand, respond to absent subscribers. They will have to be ordered separately.
The remote control is long and rather light. Much more than that of the V5. Mind you, it was hard to do worse. I find it rather pleasant to take in hand. Be careful, however, because its base is slightly domed and it will sometimes have trouble holding in place when placed on the coffee table.
She seems to me to be quite fragile too. Not sure she survives my daughter. However, I lack perspective to judge.
Installing a Freebox is a bit like setting up a microwave oven and it ultimately boils down to plugging everything into the right sockets.
If you have subscribed to Free, then all you have to do is plug in the router so that it instantly retrieves all your configuration. This applies in particular to the name of your WiFi network and to the password which protects access to it.
New subscribers should refer to the label in the box.
After setting up the Freebox Server Mini, the same must be done for the Mini 4K. No need to connect the two boxes together, however. Not physically at least.
By starting the decoder for the first time, it will launch a wizard which will take you by the hand and which will guide you throughout the installation. In particular, you will need to connect the remote control to the box and enter the WiFi network password.
When this is done, it will automatically search for updates and it will install all the native applications specific to your service provider.
Then, it will return you to the home screen and all you have to do is sit comfortably in front of your favorite program or take a little tour of the Play Store to retrieve some applications. Be careful, however, not to rejoice too quickly because you will not have as many choices as on your phone or tablet.
Not all apps are optimized for Android TV.
The Freebox Server Mini and the Freebox Mini 4K may not have been imagined by Philippe Stark and his trainees, but they are nonetheless pretty to look at and you won't be ashamed to put them on display.
I also recommend that you do not put your decoder at the bottom of a drawer. I know that Xavier Niel played a lot on it when he presented the decoder, but we must not forget that WiFi does not pass through walls. If your furniture is thick, it may attenuate the signal.
This would lead to jerky images and untimely connection losses. Note, on this side, it is not necessarily Ikea which is in question. The Mini also has to deal with some annoying bugs and you should know that they are all mentioned in this article .
I think I'll stop there for now. If you have any questions, or even advice for me, do not hesitate.